Last month, this BBC article was all over my social media, talking about authors moving to an audio-only model.
I get it. I do. Seems super appealing for several reasons:
- Goodness, is it a lot of work to make an audiobook.
- Audiobooks are enjoying a surge in popularity.
- Streamlining your formats makes more time for more writing.
- More writing makes more product for the now-self-streamlined marketplace.
And, ultimately, choosing an audio-only release format also has less competition than the eBook-only marketplace and you have more control with less gatekeepers.
Audiobooks are far and away the biggest revenue generator for Empty Set, so much so that we are already discussing options for Scott’s next contract with Big Publishing — will we be allowed to keep the audio rights? Who knows, but as the marketshare grows, that likelihood diminishes.
Here’s the thing, though: I can’t understand why you’d limit yourself unless you had to do so. In the BBC article, several authors participated in what was specifically an audio-only project. That makes sense to me as an interesting undertaking for the writer and a format-exploring treat. I could see writers flexing their minds differently given an audio-only format, and it sure seems like it would be fun for everyone — writers and readers alike.
But publishing only in audio when the world’s readers love to endlessly debate the best format for consumption? When we still have legions of folks who consider the treeware option to be the only true option? When so many folks have smart phones and could read your work anywhere, even if it’s too loud to listen to the audiobook? To me, it doesn’t make sense for a small business, which is exactly what a self-published author is.
I talk all the time about how Empty Set is a small business. A very small business. We work very hard to be successful at our job of making cool things for cool people. And I can’t think of a single reason to take away avenues to get those cool things to the aforementioned cool people. More is more. Simple as that.
We’ve been in business for a decade and have developed the resources and the processes to put our products out in audio, eBook, and (for the right books) in print. Because of that, audio-only isn’t an avenue we’ll pursue.